The United States of America in 2012 exhibits the characteristics of a nation in terminal decline. Her capital city is a den of iniquity and a seat of corruption. The economy continues to wilt under a barrage of bewildering regulations, corporatist manipulation, rent seeking, and reckless government spending. Washington’s finances are in a shambles and the only way it can pay its bills is with money it conjures out of thin air. Comparisons to the last days of Rome are common.
Charles Goyette surveys this mess in his new book, Red and Blue and Broke All Over: Restoring America’s Free Economy. The book’s title pretty much sums up the author’s analysis of 21st century America. According to Goyette, the country’s bankruptcy has been a bipartisan effort.
"The inescapable conclusion is that both parties are to blame. Einstein’s oft-cited observations that no problem can be fixed from the same consciousness that created it applies to the deflating promise of America. The restoration of the American dream will not occur as long as the political discussion remains constrained by the old voices of the Republicans and Democrats who marched us into our present economic morass."
Goyette’s previous book, The Dollar Meltdown, a New York Times best seller, was primarily concerned with increasing government spending and how it is destroying the purchasing power of the dollar and thereby impoverishing the American people. In Red and Blue Goyette tackles the broader issue of long term economic decline, arguing the country’s financial problems are a symptom of the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of its political establishment. Goyette avers, "Mesmerized by state authority, and blinded by their own partisanship, few authors, analysts, and commentators active in the public debate realize that both parties worship in the same statist church and share obedience to same economic priesthood."
Red and Blue’s message is that freedom works and statism doesn’t. If left free and unmolested, people will establish spontaneous, self-organizing systems which create prosperity. This is the theory of human action which asserts people naturally seek to improve their circumstances and they don’t need to be regulated, monitored, or whipped into shape by bureaucratic overseers. Goyette writes, "Only by understanding the bankrupt philosophy of statism and replacing it with the philosophy of freedom will a return to prosperity be possible."
Political partisans may be bothered by the author’s iconoclasm, for in making his case, Goyette smashes cherished idols of both the left and right. Hawkish conservatives will likely take exception to Goyette’s criticism of the warfare state and his description of the United States as a "military empire." Bleeding heart liberals will take umbrage at his criticism of the domestic welfare state and his support for a genuine free market, which the author contends is the only true path to prosperity.
Goyette does not pull any punches in his criticism of the current economic system. He even uses the F-word: Fascism. The fascistic nature of the U.S. economy has been obvious to keen observers for decades although most have preferred not to use that word.
In a section of the book called "The Wormhole Express," Goyette details the revolving door relationship between Goldman Sachs and the U.S. Treasury. That such an arrangement is a conflict of interest is obvious but when Goldman Sachs is the beneficiary of multiple decisions taken by high level government officials who are former employees of that well-connected firm, the system’s utter corruption is laid bare.
This is not a Democratic or Republican problem. The continuity between the Bush and Obama administrations proves as much. The Bush administration waged bankrupting elective wars and arranged for the largest corporate bailout in our nation’s history. The Obama White House has pushed through its own series of corporate bailouts and continued to wage undeclared and unnecessary wars. As the rock group The Who sang, "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."
"If Americans are serious about restoring their prosperity, they will have to take a realistic look at Republicans and Democrats, who have been managing (or mismanaging) our political and economic affairs for generations now. Economic orthodoxies have been held in common by both parties. These doctrines have advanced in Republican and Democratic administrations and prevailed despite the control of Congress and being handed back and forth."
The problem is the continual growth of the warfare/welfare state. The country’s sprawling national security apparatus costs more than $1.2 trillion per year, much of it financed by debt. The federal government’s myriad social program and transfer payment schemes are equally unsustainable and will end one way or another. In the meantime, out of control government spending stifles economic growth by wasting scarce resources and piling on more debt which is rolled over through the inflationary mechanisms of the central banking system. The whole system is based on perpetual inflation and debt.
Red and Blue is an ambitious effort, covering such varied topics as economics, history, philosophy, economics, foreign affairs, and politics. The reader is never loaded down with monotonous statistics nor is he bored with long-winded pontifications. The commentary is sharp, concise, and at times, funny. Perhaps this is where Goyette’s previous career helps. He was a successful radio personality who hosted his own drive time show until he was fired for not toning down his criticism of the George W. Bush administration. Like his late radio show, the book is informative and entertaining. It’s a veritable goldmine of witticisms such as Goyette’s quip that the term "‘jobless recovery’ falls into the same class as a lifeless resuscitation: the operation was a success, but the patient died."
Goyette provides no political solutions in Red and Blue which is consistent with overall theme of the book. There are no political quick fixes to problems that have been decades in the making. Expecting the current crop of politicians to come up with a solution is naïve if not delusional. Government can’t be the solution when it is, indeed, the problem. Goyette urges his readers to simply embrace freedom. This means rejecting the State and all of its empty promises. That is the only solution.
Reprinted with permission from American Breaking Point.